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City Sues Pharmacy For Allowing Oxycontin In Black Market

Update Date: Jan 21, 2017 07:00 AM EST

On Thursday, a city in Washington sued a Pharmaceutical company for allowing the painkiller Oxycontin into the black market. Everett, a city of 100,000 located north of Seattle claims Purdue Pharmaceuticals had evidence the pills were supplied to illegal drug traffickers and where sold in the black market. In order to maximize their profits they ignored and kept the situation from law enforcement.

In a complaint filed by Everett in the state Superior Court, Purdue was accused of gross negligence, creating public nuisance and other misconduct and punitive damages. They demand an estimated $10 million from the company to pay for handling the opioid crisis it caused.

Everett "seeks to hold Purdue Pharma - the manufacturer, seller and promoter of OxyContin - accountable for knowingly, recklessly, and/or negligently supplying OxyContin to obviously suspicious physicians and pharmacies and enabling the diversion of OxyContin into the black market, including to drug rings, pill mills and other dealers for dispersal of the highly addictive pills."

Los Angeles Times reported that Purdue has been sued hundreds of times over the past 20 years for its products and marketing. The lawsuits focused on how the company knew about criminal distribution.

"Purdue's improper actions of placing profits over the welfare of the citizens of Everett have caused and will continue to cause substantial damages to Everett," the lawyer wrote in the complaint. "Purdue is liable for its intentional, reckless, and/or negligent misconduct and should not be allowed to evade responsibility for its callous and unconscionable practices."

OxyContin is a highly addictive drug. According to Huffington Post, the city has been devastated by the heroin addiction epidemic which was triggered by the opioid prescriptions or street sales. Despite Purdue's efforts to changing its formula in 2010 to make the drug more difficult to abuse, heroin use and overdose still has risen in several cities.

There are mixed opinions if Everett's case will succeed. It was compared to litigations against firearms manufacturers.

"We know this is a bold action we are taking, but it is the right thing to do," said Mayor Ray Stephanson.

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